1968: Catfish’s Perfect Game

I orginally wrote about this game in 2007. I updated with the boxscore and some information from the steel-trap like memory of frequent commenter and occasional contributor Beau, who most certainly was not alive but remembered reading about the game.

Wednesday May 8, 1968
Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum

Catfish Hunter came as close to winning a game all by himself as a player can get in the game of baseball.

Hunter faced 27 Twins, and retired each of them. He had 11 strikeouts, three of which came against Harmon Killebrew; and the Twins’ lineup only managed to hit six balls out of the infield.

Twins pitcher Dave Boswell did not allow an Oakland run until the seventh inning. With Rick Monday on third due to a double and a wild pitch, Hunter executed a bunt that he was able to beat out for a run-scoring single.

Hunter was not through, however. With the bases loaded and a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the eighth, Catfish delivered a two-run single off of Ron Perranoski.

Perhaps the most interesting out that day was the 27th. Hunter faced Rich Reese, a pinch hitter for the pitcher’s position that was occupied by Ron Perranoski. Reese fouled off at least five consecutive pitches in the at-bat before finally watching strike three.

At the end of the night, Hunter had not only pitched a perfect game, but had knocked in three of his team’s four runs, including the game-winner. Unfortunately, only 6,298 fans were present to witness the first American League regular season perfect game since 1922. The New York Times billed it as the 10th perfect game in major league history, but is actually recognized as the ninth (the NYT was likely counting Harvey Haddix’s nine perfect innings in a game that he ended up losing in 1959).

The Twins have been on the losing end of two of the 17 perfect games in major league history.

Box

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